Cedar Bathouse from a road-side trunk

  • Advertise with us
Project by Adam D posted 06-10-2012 02:06 AM 15500 views 11 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend told me that bats could eat up to 1000 mosquitos per bat per hour! That set me on my quest to build a bathouse. I spotted an old broken up cedar trunk on the side of the road, and after attacking it with a metal detector, a pair of pliers, and then my surface planer, I had some cleaned up stock to work with.

The basic design I got from, but I modified the dimensions a bit to match my limited stock. I used my TS and a simple jig inspired by the box-joint jig to make the grooves in all four surfaces of the inside for the bats to grip. All the panes were laid in rabbets, and reinforced with biscuits. The vent slots on the front were quick work with my router. The roof sits in an angled dado to help keep the inside dry, and some clear silicone caulk “sealed the deal”. They say that it can take a couple years or more for bats to find it and call it a home, so I’ll probably wait a few months before I start burning through flashlight batteries.

It came out pretty bat-ass if you ask me! xD

-- Adam, Rochester NY

7 comments so far

View ptofimpact's profile


394 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 06-10-2012 11:30 AM

Adam Nice work thank you for sharing. Have considered making one, can you say how high in the tree it needs be?

-- Pete in NC

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5206 days

#2 posted 06-10-2012 11:42 AM

This is on my to do list. I’m about a mile from the local pond, so I don’t know if they will settle in here. They do come around at night looking for mosquitoes. We have a large herd of purple martins that work on the insects also. Thanks for the post. Nice job on the house.

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 3800 days

#3 posted 06-10-2012 12:08 PM

I like this, thank you. I’d like to see some pictures taken by flashlight some day.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Adam D's profile

Adam D

103 posts in 3736 days

#4 posted 06-10-2012 02:06 PM

@ptofimpact: The sites that I read indicated that it should be 20+ feet in the air, but the bats certainly don’t have an issue nesting behind my window shutters, which are only about 6-8 feet up. My rule of thumb became “how high do you feel comfortable in your tallest ladder”. There’s a chart on this site that indicates that the higher the house is, the more likely bats are to set up camp there.

@tenontim: My research indicated that the occupation was more likely as distance to water decreased. Some sites say 1/4 mile, some say 1/2 mile, but either way, a mile’s pushing it. That being said, if you see bats at night, they’re there—give it a shot!

-- Adam, Rochester NY

View LesB's profile


3471 posts in 4905 days

#5 posted 06-10-2012 04:54 PM

They are great. I have made several over the past 20 years. Last year the grand kids sat outside at sundown and watched 80+ bats leave one for their nightly hunt. I have even seen babies being nursed by their mother in them.
The bats seem to prefer a location that catches the morning sun but avoids the afternoon heat and at least 10 feet off the ground.
I tried a newer design last year which is essentially 4 concentric boxes with 5/8” space between them about 3+ feet long with the center box just big enough to slip over a mounting pole. There are holes drilled in the inner boxes that allow the bats to move from one layer to the other tor more or less warmth. So far I have no takers so I may look for a better location.
There has been some questions about how many mosquitoes they eat because mosquitoes are low flying insects and the bats tend to hunt higher up. We don’t have many mosquitoes around our place in either event.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Skylark53's profile


2868 posts in 4522 days

#6 posted 06-10-2012 11:34 PM

I like this. A bathouse is on my “to do” list too. Nice work. Great save for the cedar. Thanks for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View garlandkr's profile


58 posts in 2966 days

#7 posted 01-21-2016 04:50 PM

Looks great! I too need to build one of these, to get them out of the cedar shingles in my house!

I read a lot of info on what color to paint them based on where you live and what direction they should be pointed in, etc. Since the bats already like my house, I’m just going to paint it the same color and face it in the same direction as the side of my house they stay in.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics